New base? No problem! — 3 Resources to know about at your new base
Six years ago, I moved in with my active duty fiancé, and I had no clue what becoming a military spouse meant. Actually, I rarely ever went to the base because I felt so out of place. I had no previous affiliation with the military lifestyle. I didn’t understand half (okay, way more than half) of the conversations my soon-to-be husband and his friends had with me. We were only at that base for six months before we moved to Germany.
When you move overseas, your dependence on the base resources becomes so much greater. The base housing office helps you find a place to live. You shop for groceries at the base commissary and you attend various briefings at the base Family Readiness Center. The lingo varies with each branch of service, but each one has a place like this — a consolidated location where you can get so much information.
In my time as a military spouse, I’ve found three resources that have helped me tremendously in every aspect of taking on this sometimes-crazy life. I recommend finding these resources and using them!
The first is the Military and Family Readiness Center (MFRC). This place is awesome! They have resources for just about anything you can imagine, from employment support to financial readiness and everything in between. I met so many kind and helpful people, as I adjusted to our transition overseas. They even have classes geared toward spouses and family members who can help you learn some of the acronyms that our significant others use on a daily basis.
When I was looking for work, I actually sat with someone, one-on-one, who helped me adapt my resume to meet the requirements of the specific job to which I was applying. If you’ve ever applied for a federal job, you know how tricky it can be. The wording has to match perfectly, and the format has to be just so, before the hiring official will even see your application. Ugh, so glad to have had help!
My second recommendation is connecting with the Key Spouses in your service member’s new squadron. For the Air Force, a Key Spouse is a volunteer spouse who serves as a link between you and your AD spouse’s leadership. These people are there specifically for you, the spouse. They receive training and work hand-in-hand with the MFRC to provide you the most accurate and appropriate information you need for most situations.
A key spouse can help you find places on base, such as the med clinic, if you’re new and have an appointment but aren’t sure where to go. If you’re looking for help with your kiddos, they can get you connected with resources across the base for support. They can even be a listening ear, if you’re having a hard time adjusting to your spouse’s new schedule.
Let’s be real here for a minute. Being a military spouse can, at times, be very lonely. When you move to a new base, your AD spouse jumps right back into work, and has connections with others almost immediately. As the “dependent,” it takes much more effort and time to even find those connections, let alone find people you actually mesh with well. Your Key Spouse can be a great resource to you in this way.
The third resource is finding support groups through social media. Nowadays, most everyone makes their connections through social media sites like Facebook. I have found so much support and help by searching the base name I will be going to and finding the groups affiliated with it. Here, I can ask any questions I have about housing help, new doctor or veterinarian recommendations, and even the best places to eat! It’s kind of like having a group of friends that already live there who can share their experiences to help you find your way.
Going overseas provoked the need for support in other aspects of my life in which my AD husband could not provide. I had to let go of the fear of not knowing anything about military life, and accept help from others. Now that we’re back stateside, these three resources are some of the first connections I make. I’m thankful to know about them and how to use them.
Every experience will be different. But, speaking for myself as a new spouse, I didn’t realize what resources were out there for me! Take the time to check out these people and places, and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Go out and explore your new area! New adventures await you!
About the Blogger
Melissa Rogers is a professional organizer and USAF military spouse whose organizational skills were put to the test, right after graduation, as an elementary school teacher. The management of the classroom depended solely on the systems Melissa created and her ability to teach those systems to others. As a military spouse, she developed her own unique brand of systematic organizing to accommodate moving four times in three different cities, over six years. Melissa’s passion for teaching her organizational tips and tricks inspired her home business, Modified by Melissa.